Lentils, India’s tariff, key items as Saskatoon crop production show kicks off

SASKATOON — About 20,000 people are expected to attend the 35th annual edition of the Western Canadian Crop Production Show in Saskatoon this week as farmers looks for ways to get around the massive hit from India’s tariff on pea imports.

The four-day event, which covers the production of cereal, oilseed and pulse crops, opened today at the city’s Prairieland Park.

India’s decision last year to impose a 50-per-cent tariff on pea imports is expected to cause some headaches for Saskatchewan growers.

Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, has said that producers will likely reduce their pea acreage this year and may boost soybean production instead.

Canada is India’s largest supplier of peas, chickpeas and lentils — with about half of production coming from Saskatchewan farms.

The federal government says Canadian producers shipped more than $1 billion worth of pulses to India last year.

Kevin Hursh, a Saskatchewan farmer and agricultural journalist, said there could be “slim pickings out there” as producers search for profitable crops.

Hursh said many farmers will also be looking at different ways to cut production costs this year.

“Everything from crop inoculants to seed treatments to fertilizer nutrients. There’s a lot of things to look at.”

Hursh anticipates that despite the downturn in pulse crop production, 2018 could be another record year for canola acreage.

Lori Cates, manager of agriculture for Saskatoon Prairieland Park Corp., said there are 348 exhibitors registered for this year’s crop production show.

Cates noted that the event, which began in one small building, has grown to reach full capacity.

The Saskatchewan government used the show’s kickoff to announce a new five-year, $125,000 funding agreement for the corporation.

The province said in a release that more than 220,000 people visit Prairieland Park each year for agriculture-related events.

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